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Top Spots For Wildlife Viewing In Colorado

November 15, 2011 2:00 PM

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Bighorn Sheep in Colorado in 2010. (credit: Dennis Claveau)

Bighorn Sheep in Colorado in 2010. (credit: Dennis Claveau)

There are hundreds of spots for viewing Colorado’s wide array of wildlife. Here are a couple we’ve featured on the CBS4 program Colorado Getaways.
bighorn Top Spots For Wildlife Viewing In Colorado

Bighorn Sheep in Colorado in 2010. (credit: Dennis Claveau)

Georgetown Wildlife Viewing Station

wildlife.state.co.us/viewing

In order to keep people from pulling over on Interstate 70 the Colorado Division of Wildlife established this viewing station for people to view one of Colorado’s largest herds of Bighorn sheep, the state animal. To get there, take the Georgetown exit and turn left at the stop sign and go about a mile. Approximately $20,000 from the Colorado Lottery went toward the interpretive signs at the viewing station. A portion of lottery proceeds are designated for outdoors projects all over the state.

starsmore discovery center Top Spots For Wildlife Viewing In Colorado

Starsmore Discovery Center in Colorado Springs

2120 South Cheyenne Canyon Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
(719) 385-6086
tfocc.org

A few miles from downtown Colorado Springs lies the Starsmore Discovery Center, located in a beautiful canyon. Nature programs for kids are the big draw at the center and when they’re around the broadtail hummingbirds are the star attraction. The center educates visitors about their migratory journey. The center also encourages children to make hummingbird feeders which help the birds save energy they might otherwise spend looking for food. There’s even an annual Hummingbird Festival in May.

Chatfield State Park – Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory

14500 Lark Bunting Lane
Brighton, CO 80603
(303) 659-4348
rmbo.org

Run by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, the banding station at Chatfield State Park allows an up-close view of tiny, beautiful birds. The birds here are caught in a mist-like net and banded to keep up to date info about the bird populations that come through the state. Chatfield State Park is home to more than 300 species of birds at some times of the year. That’s what makes it such a popular place for bird watchers.

Lamar Bird Watching

Lamar Community College
2401 South Main Street
Lamar, Colorado 81052
(719)336-6608

The Lamar Community College Woods has one of five banding stations in the state. Scientists there record information about the migratory birds to track their health and population numbers. Childrens’ programs are offered and allow young people to walk in the woods and learn about birds and the bird habitat.

bluff lake nature center Top Spots For Wildlife Viewing In Colorado

(credit: BluffLakeNatureCenter.com)

Bluff Lake Nature Center

(303) 344-0031
blufflakenaturecenter.org

This oasis of nature is located close to Havana and Martin Luther King Boulevard, near the old Stapleton Airport. The unique urban wildlife refuge is home to an abundance of animals and native plants. “The Bluff Lakes are a wonderful place to be in the morning,” said Glenn Lee, executive director. “The city is kind of waking up around us, yet you’re in the basin that is coming alive with wildlife.” Migratory birds visit the area each year. It’s also home to the American Badger, the Little Brown Bat and the American Beaver. “Often times we can see a deer moving through the trees or coyotes hunting in the morning,” said Lee. Lee says his favorite times to be in the park are just after dawn or just before dusk. “That’s when the wildlife is more active and city sounds are calming down,” Lee said.

Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space

(970) 416-2480
fcgov.com/naturalareas

This park near Windsor has been designed to protect what is a great bird sanctuary. The open space does not allow bikes, boats or dogs. The only thing allowed is hiking to view a large variety of bird populations. At the right time of year more than 60 bald eagles roost there. To get there, take Interstate 25 north to the Windsor exit and go west on Carpenter Road. It’s one mile to the entrance.

rocky mountain arsenal national wildlife refuge Top Spots For Wildlife Viewing In Colorado

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

(303) 289-0930
fws.gov/rockymountainarsenal

More than a dozen genetically pure bison from the National Bison Range in Montana were relocated to this national wildlife refuge located just north of Denver in 2007. Nearly 50 now graze on an enclosed 1,400 acre section of the refuge. Public tours on selected days of the week allow people to see the great animals who once thundered across the prairie by the tens of millions. The animals were decimated by widespread slaughter after the Civil War as the nation’s policy of Manifest Destiny sent settlers west. (They dropped to an estimated 1,000 or fewer by the late 1800s.) Bald eagles also come to roost every winter, and black-tailed prairie dogs, hawks, coyotes, bald eagles and deer make their home here — in an area where nerve gas and other chemical weapons were once manufactured. The facility was designated a Superfund cleanup site in the 1980s and Congress in 1992 declared that it be turned into a national wildlife refuge. The $2.1 billion cleanup effort was completed in 2010. A visitors center should be completed in 2011.

cranes in alamosa Top Spots For Wildlife Viewing In Colorado

Sandhill cranes in the snow near Alamosa (credit: Ken and Sharon Turpin)

Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge

9383 El Rancho Lane
Alamosa, CO 81101
(719) 589-4021
fws.gov
cranefest.com

Each spring the perennial migration of the Sandhill Crane makes a stop in the San Luis Valley. It’s an annual migration — a pilgrimage — which stretches into the distant past. “As long as they’ve been here, they’ve probably been coming through the San Luis Valley, which has probably been tens of thousands of years,” said Mike Blenden, who oversees the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge. The cranes spend their winters in southern New Mexico and in the summer they are found at their nesting grounds in northern Idaho. During the migration as many as 20,000 cranes will stop in the San Luis Valley to rest and refuel. The refuge offers tours and workshops. To get there take Hwy 285 south into the San Luis Valley to Monte Vista. The wildlife refuge is located several miles south on Hwy 15.

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